The Congress may formally associate itself with tainted politician Hitendra Thakur, even as other parties cry foul over his alleged criminal background. A sitting MLA, Thakur told Hindustan Times on Monday, that he was a long-time associate of the Congress and supports the Congress state government from outside. He said he has already discussed an alliance with senior leaders of the Congress.
“I’m in touch with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and state Congress president Manikrao Thakare. I have asked them to give me four seats in the Palghar segment,” he said.
Chavan, Thakare and the Congress spokesperson Hussain Dalvai were unavailable for comment.
17 years ago, Congress dumped Thakur, when his gangster brother Bhai Thakur was jailed under TADA. But now, it needs Thakur because his political outfit — Bahujan Vikas Aghadi — wields significant clout in Thane’s Vasai-Virar-Palghar coastal belt.
With rising threats from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, a 17-party Republican Left Democratic Front and the Nationalist Congress Party that emerged single largest party in 2004, the Congress is likely to patch up with Thakur and seek his support from outside.
On Monday, the Shiv Sena announced social activist-turned-politician Vivek Pandit’s candidature against Thakur in Vasai segment. Other prominent parties are likely to field a single candidate against Thakur.
In 2004 Assembly elections, Hitendra Thakur was elected as an independent candidate, polling 1,61,000 votes versus 94,000 for nearest rival Vivek Pandit of the Shivsena.